A Few Gifts For Christmas

I adore gifts that involve health and this December I have come up with the following ideas to assist with your seasonal shopping.

SERVICES

Nutrition Counseling – It would be (silly) hard not to list the idea of buying a voucher for a loved one to visit with a dietitian, such as myself. Depending on their current health status, anyone can benefit from conversing with an RD about getting the most out of their nutrition and understand what diet is best for their health goals. In the least, treat yourself. Your health should be a priority and no one is a better advocate than yourself in taking charge of your quality of life. Along with one-on-one counseling, I host a 4 week Pledge (via a private Facebook forum) and coach you along the 28 days to reach a set health goal and learn clean eating techniques, as well as, work with a local personal trainer conducting a Clean Eating Bootcamp, which will launch the second Monday in January!

Spa – give the gift of relaxation with a spa package. This is a perfect service around the holidays when everything is hustle-bustle.

Fitness Programs – give the gift of fitness. If in Chicago, I recommend Fit Girl Studio‘s monthly package of unlimited classes. They have everything from Barre to spinning. Throughout the month you can mix up the routine and stay inspired to keep on coming back for more. If you do the Paleo Infused Pledge, you get a massive discount. As well, I am affiliated with a great personal trainer in Chicago, who I can connect you with at a discounted price. Email me with interest. Other options include packages for yoga, pilates, Crossfit or barre classes. I am huge fan of barre. You work muscles you didn’t know you had and leave the classes feeling accomplished.

FOOD ITEMS

I love gourmet food, especially those hard to find gems that are clean of unneeded preservatives and flavor enhancers. Below are some of my top picks.

Hemp Seed – looking to increase your protein and fiber intake? This may be your go-to ingredient. It’s nutty delicious flavor marries well with salads, soups, smoothies and more. I often eat 3-4 T of Hemp Seed Hearts with some almond milk or coconut milk in the morning.

Organic Coconut Oil – use in place of butter and olive oil, adding an extra dose of nutrition to your meals. Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil here.

Dark Chocolate – Lindt dark chocolate 85% and above is one of few commercially found chocolates that does NOT contain soy lecithin (which is a huge plus!). Buy one for mom and one for yourself!

Bars – I do not want to categorize this gift as “granola bars” because my recommended bars lack grains and are gluten free. So therefore, we will stick with bars. However, with many of my clients who need something on the go, or have in the gym bag for a time of need, I recommend a few bars including Lara BarsKind bars, and Zing bars. As a health professional I am able to sell Zing bars at a discounted rate, compared to retail. If interested, feel free to email me ([email protected]).

Grassfed Meat/Cheese – high quality protein sourced from grassfed animals is one of the best fuel sources we have. I love US Wellness Meats and their broad offerings including sugar free, nitrate free bacon.

Looking for more food ideas? Feel free to review my collected list on Amazon by clicking here.

BOOKS 

There are a number of great books out there right now and a few of my favorite include: Wheat BellyPrimal Body, Primal MindEat Fat, Lose Fat, Practical PaleoGood Calories, Bad Calories and a few more.

A few fellow dietitian friends have also recently published some interesting eBooks including:

GADGETS

I am afraid this list could go on forever, but beyond the iPhone and accessories, these items are appealing:

FitBit Aria Scale – Aria is a high performance scale, tracking weight, body mass index (BMI) and % body fat over time. After easy, wireless set-up, your Fitbit aria scale taps into your home wireless network and uploads your information automatically to fitbit.com each time you step on the scale. Automatically recognizes up to 8 different people in your home, sending their info to separate accounts at fitbit.com.

FitBit One & Zip trackers – track your movement with this little device.

Nike + Sports Watch and GPS – Tap the screen to mark laps and activate the backlight during your run, and personalize the data that you want to see during your run. For direct connect, USB contacts are built into the watch strapjust plug the watch directly into a USB port on your computer to upload run data and recharge the battery.

Camelbak Water Bottle – I love my camelbak water bottle, and the lid/straw helps me stay hydrated. When you see me, I am sure you will see me with my Camelbak.

There are numerous fun gadgets on the market right now. Everything from sound-proofed headphones to high-tech shoes. If I come across anything that I think is a must-have for the holidays, I will update this post. Until then, please let me know what you are eyeing for the holidays.

Enjoy the season, and try to stop and smell the pine once in awhile.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Sunday Session – Almond butter, Slow cooker chicken, Sweet potato chips +

This Sunday I had family in town and therefore threw off my usual cooking routine. However, with a slow cooker there is always a way. This week I made a little something, something such as:

Almond Butter

Ingredients: Almonds and hazelnut oil
Method: Place a cup of almonds in a food processor. Let the almonds become rather refined and then add some oil, little by little, until the nut butter reaches a consistency you prefer.
Usage: almond butter can compliment many of things. You just have to be careful not to over consume it. This is one reason I prefer to make my own. I can make an amount that should last me at least a week. If it’s gone before the next Sunday, then it’s gone. Hmmm hence this being a staple item on my cooking list.

Slow-cooker Chicken, Mushroom, Onion, Sun-dried Tomatoes

Ingredients: Gluten free chicken stock (1/4 cup-1/2 cup), 3-4 chicken breast (I did skinless because that is what I had but it would have turned out even better with skin on), 1 yellow onion, chopped, 3 cups of sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup – 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, 1 cup of green olives and spices.
Method: So easy!! Starting with the onion, place all ingredients in the slow-cooker on low and let it cook for 6 hours.
Usage: Pairs nicely with spaghetti squash, sauteed spinach or on fresh greens.

Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, sea salt, coconut oil, cinnamon
Method: Slice 4 sweet potatoes in thin cylinders; the size of potato chips. Preheat the oven at 375F, toss the sliced sweet potatoes in bowl of 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil (repeat this until all of the sweet potato is coated), lay sliced sweet potatoes across the baking sheet, sprinkle over the spices and salt, flip the potatoes and repeat. Cook for 15 minutes, flip the potatoes and allow to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Usage: Just as you would eat chips, enjoy some sweet potato chips!

Paleo Infused Breakfast Muffins

I

Ingredients: Farmer’s market eggs, prosciutto, pepper, cilantro.
Method: Line a cupcake pan with prosciutto. And make sure to be careful to completely cover the cups. If there are holes, then the Breakfast Muffin will not be able to remove as nicely as it should. Next crack an egg into each lined cup. You can leave the egg as is or mix the yolk and white together with a fork. Add spices. Cook on 400F for 25-30 minutes.
Usage: Quick and nutrient-dense breakfast on busy mornings or have one for an afternoon snack.

That’s all she wrote for me this Sunday! However, I do still have some nice pumpkin soup and green curry (seafood) in the freezer. Surely these items will come in handy towards the end of the week.

Next Sunday will be exciting as well. With some friends we have organized a Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner. We are starting the Sunday at our place at 2pm with appetizers then moving to other households for the main meal and dessert. What shall I make? I have in mind some bacon wrapped dates, maybe some sweet potato something….the list goes on! But open to some suggestions.

Cheers to you and good health, Kel

Tying in Health When Traveling

This month was uber fun, yet, I have sat on an airplane more than I have laid in my own bed. With late dinners and early mornings I bank on my diet to pull me through these busy events.

I take my hat off to anyone who is a consultant and is always on the road. It is tough – routines are forgotten, meals are unplanned, and sleep…good luck. Yet, I have some go-to habits that help keep me sane including clean eating.

1. Food

You don’t always know what you are going to eat or when. If I didn’t pack my go-to travel foods, I would go on famished or even drowning myself in whatever I could get my hands on.

I always carry food on my trips, well at least all the types of food I can travel with from state to state in Australia (here you are not allowed to take fruits, vegs, meats and many other quarantined items from one state to another). While traveling I am constantly bouncing from one meeting to the next. What could be a fast food drive through, I turn into a quick stop at a park (if I am lucky) and eat something I have on hand. My travel foods include: hard boiled eggs, canned tuna in olive oil (100% olive oil), macadamia nuts, and dark chocolate. All these foods are good, nutrient-dense and satisfying. Since I can’t take vegetables from one state to another, I may pick up a salad and dress it with my tuna and hard boiled egg. If my flight is bright an early, I will again often source a hard boiled egg or two.

2. Fitness

Regardless of where I am traveling and for how long, I have a workout outfit, comfy shoes to swap out my heels for to get in a quick walk, goggles and a swimsuit. The best way to get to know a city is on foot. When a day of meetings wrap-up, I will throw on some joggers and get in some fitness before the sun goes down.

3. Fasting

If there are no good food options and my blood sugars are pleasing, I will partake in an intermittent fast. I may also do a fast when my meals are too plentiful, for example last week I was at a conference and there was a buffet breakfast, morning and arvo tea (which means coffee, tea and food), lunch and then a dinner. Grains avoided or not, I still overate and an intermittent fast gets me back on track. I usually only fast for about 14-16 hours, eating dinner then again the following day around 11am.

4. Water bottle

Staying hydrated is key. I take an empty water bottle through the security at the airport and top it off right away and continue to do so throughout the trip.

5. Sleep

It is not always a good nights sleep in a new place and new bed, but I take some decaf tea with me, along with some magnesium supplements to help wind down. I also make the bedroom as dark as I can (block the clock) and turn the thermostat on the cold side.

6. Me time

Travel can be lonely but also an awesome opportunity for some personal time. When on the road set aside time to just relax and digest any stress going on in your life. Depending on where I am, I like popping downstairs to the hotel bar and getting a nice glass of red  and get comfortable in my room by reading or catching some cable (we don’t have cable; crazy? Yes).

These are just a few things I have adapted in the last year and will continue to strive for optimal health, diet and fitness when wining and dining.

Cheers to you and good health!

Time For An Update

Life’s been a whirlwind.

Starting in March we went on a 3 week holiday visiting about everyone we knew in the US. Nothing short of spending time in Vegas, Missouri (sister and new baby), Indiana, Cincinnati, Columbus and Chicago. Exaggeration nil, I think we met up with over a 150 people – it was awesome to be back and hard work.

   Yet thpace e didn’t slow nor has it. A few days after returning to Melbourne and doing a final parental-approved clean sweep through our house, my mom came to visit for 3 weeks. We engulfed ourselves in adventures stemming from a pub crawl in Sydney, hot springs in Victoria, a wine tour, 15k run (I smashed my husband’s time), wild life tour, and many nights out on the down and loved every bit of it.

  
We certainly haven’t left time for any grass grow beneath us. Currently we entertaining another bout of friends from Chicago for 3 weeks.

This time adventures include footy, a trip to Cairns, white water rafting, snorkeling, wine tours, zip lining and more.

  
In all fairness it has been a bit challenging to eat right and keep blood sugars level. Yet, it’s been a blast and I am always aiming to put my best foot forward. Nonetheless I have many posts to come – addressing acupuncture, meditation, mental health/diet, vitamin K2, recipes and more.

Thanks for your patience and stay-tuned. Cheers to you and good health.

Food Log – I Have Not Forgotten About You

Happy New Year. I do not know about you, but I have been feeling a little fluffy since the holidays. I did not go too far off the paleo diet but I certainly had too many bites of food on too many occasions. That is okay because I am back on the horse and motivated to eat right and feel good.

Breakfast: 10AM
I woke up around 7:30AM and told myself, “You are not getting out of bed,” and slept another good hour or so.
2 free range, omega 3 eggs
Sauteed mushrooms

11:30AM – Prahran Market
Sampled some preservative free sausages (oh they are so good)
Had an organic long black
Samples some spicy and garlic olives
A fresh date

Exercise: 1PM 
bike ride to the coast (9 miles total), a few plyorometric drills

Snack: 3PM
I threw some almonds in a food processor with some macadamia nut oil and himilayian sea salt
6-8 prunes

Exercise: 4:30PM
30 min run through the local park

Dinner: 6PM
Grilled seafood salad (prawns, calamari, white fish and greens)

Snack: 8:30PM
1 oz of leftover beef
Salsa and homemade guacamole


Dear Food Diary – 3/12/11 – Christmas BBQ Party…

Today, Saturday, I am prepping for a gathering of friends to celebrate Christmas. Let’s see how I behaved at the BBQ, keeping in mind these few goals:

1. Avoid all dairy and grains
2. Drink plenty of water and do not over eat on anything
3. Avoid all dairy

Breakfast: 9AM
Long black
I was not hungry when I first woke up so I waited an hour or so. I also had rubbish sleep last night, so I will be interested in how my cravings run today.
Protein, Coconut oil smoothie
Fish Oil
Probiotics
CoQ10
Allergy meds

Exercise: I have graduated from my walks and am back in the gym! Do not get me wrong, I love walking the parks but I am beyond ready to get my heart rate up and to life some weights.
11AM: Kettlebell workout – wow, I am out of shape.

12noon: met Schmidtty at the market and picked up some wild barramundi for tonight’s barbie! Enjoyed some preservative free sausage samples.

Lunch: 1:35PM
1/2 banana and nutbutter
Ham, deli

Exercise: 4 mile walk with friend

Snack: 4PM
Blueberries and Glutamine fortified jelly (Jell-O)

Party begins 6PM
Grazed in sweet potato chips, sliced pears and apples, hard boiled egg, wine and some tuna-like dip (gfree no doubt)

Dinner: 8PM
Wild barramundi
Prawns
Salad, Greek-like

10PM
Bites of my husband flourless chocolate cake (to.die.for.)